Running Resolutions – Plan to Run and Race Smarter in 2010

No matter what your 2009 was like, your 2010 can be what you want it to be. Take a few minutes now to consider what you want your 2010 to look like. Assess your running life and the rest of your life. They are both yours, and each affects the other.

Millions of runners will make New Year’s resolutions. If you are a runner, your resolution – or one of them – will likely be to train more and train better. Maybe you will resolve to do your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon.

Maybe you will resolve to improve your training. Everybody can do that. That’s my goal. I’ll be more consistent, let fewer interruptions interfere, and do a better job of sticking to my training schedule.

However, it’s just as important to resolve to keep your running in perspective, to prevent it from ever coming between you and your loved ones; rather, make sure that running provides the solace, the meditation time you need to become an even better person. Use that quiet, private running time to clear your mind, to de-stress, to improve your focus, and prepare yourself to make the most of all the other facets of your life.

Running can do that; it should do that.

Make sure your running complements the rest of your life, and make sure the rest of your life allows you to maintain a reasonable running schedule. If you take a few hours away from your family to run, don’t feel guilty. You will be better for it, and the times you spend with them will be better times. They may or may not realize it, but you must.

Now, start planning.

As for me, I resolve to lose 10 pounds. That will help me achieve all the other goals; so, in that sense, it’s the most important one.

In 2010, I will run another marathon, and I will lower my time by ten minutes. I resolve to prepare for that marathon by building my base up to 60 miles per week.

I will also drop my 5k time 45 seconds. I will complete at least one olympic distance triathlon, and I will spin more. Specifically, I will average one spinning class per week.

Notice that these goals are concrete and measurable. That’s important because that way at the end of 2010 I will know whether I have achieved these goals.

If you have not considered what your 2010 will look like, it’s time to start thinking. Here is an idea: Whatever your running accomplishments have been in the past, why not venture into another type of running? If you have been running on the road, why not plan to do an off road race? Why not try a longer distance race, a relay race, a triathlon, or an urban adventure race?

Why not resolve to join a running group? If you have not trained with a group in the past, you will be amazed at how it will improve your training, making it more consistent, but more importantly, making it a social experience that will enhance your life, perhaps even as much as the running does. Many people think of running as a solitary sport, and every runner should spend some time running alone, but, it’s equally beneficial to become part of the running community. Recent research has found that people who have more friends are happier and live longer. And, the more time they spend with those friends, the greater the effect.

Now is the time to assess your physical condition and prescribe whatever changes are warranted. Were you plagued by injuries in 2009? Maybe it’s time to resolve to do more cross-training, strength training, stretching and yoga.

In ’09 did your training tend to be haphazard, catch-as-catch-can? Then make this year the year you learn the primary training principles, apply them to your training, and stick with your plan. Do you know how to plan a training schedule that will prepare you for your goal race? Do you know how to apply the hard/easy training principle? Do you know when to increase your weekly mileage and by how much? If not, resolve to learn how to train correctly.

Why not resolve to mentor other, newer runners? How about resolving to volunteer at more races? There are plenty of ways to make your running life even more worthwhile. Start thinking.

Make sure you set specific measurable goals. Rather than, “I will run more, determine how many miles you averaged in 2009, and set a goal for how many miles you will average in 2010. Then keep track. If you haven’t kept a journal of your training in the past, that is a goal itself. Don’t overdo it, but analyze your running life – well, your life – and consider what would be the most important changes and set goals regarding those changes.

Be sure to announce your resolutions to the people close to you. Have you ever noticed how when you set a new goal for yourself, it helps to say it aloud and tell your friends? That’s a great idea; they will encourage you to keep your nose to the grindstone. That’s what friends do.

Whatever your resolution, here’s to your success. Pretend we’re clicking champagne glasses – clink – and taking a drink. Cheers!

Copyright – Debbie Voiles. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.